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Low Clearance Information Sources

Ever since I got my first trailer I worried about low clearances. That trailer was only slightly over 10 feet tall, but every time I went under an overpass I cringed. After upgrading to a 5th wheel and finding out that at about 12' it is 6" higher than was quoted by the salesman, it was time to get serious about clearances.

I found there were several expensive "Navigators" available for truck drivers, and there are books for truckers showing all kinds of highway information. Some states, and even a few cities, publish listings of clearances. There are also federal standards for interstate highways, but waivers are available so even that is not always dependable information. There is a lot of information available on the internet today, but researching it before each trip can take quite a bit of time, and some of the information seems to be well aged.

Then in early 2011 I learned of a website called Low Clearances. These folks have a subscription to a service called Route-1 that provides Point-of-Interest (POI) downloads for most of the popular GPS/Navigators. There are thousands of low clearance locations in the files. They are submitted by users and confirmed by the Low Clearance folks. The files are updated a couple of weeks and you can download them at any time.

I subscribed to the service in March and downloaded the files. The locations are grouped by the clearance height so for my TomTom navigator I loaded the files for all locations with clearance less than 14'. Then I set the POI options in my TomTom to show an icon on the map for all points, and to give an audible signal like a siren whenever I am within 500 feet of a location with a clearance of 13' or less.

So far I have not had many alarms, which was expected since I stay mostly on the interstate except when near a campground I am not surprised. But it does give me a bit of comfort to know TomTom is watching clearances for me. I have noticed that I get an alarm in Raleigh where there is a low clearance on Atlantic at Capital Blvd. I have noticed a few other points when driving around town without the trailer in tow, but none have been on routes where I would take the trailer.

I recently found America's Independent Truckers' Association, Inc. on the internet. They have a listing of low clearances by state. They don't seem to have nearly as many locations as the Low Clearances folks, but it is plain text so if you don't have a GPS/Navigator it could be of use.

In late June 2011, Rand McNally announced the new TripMaker RVND 5510 navigator targeted specifically for the RV owner. It is a bit pricey at $350 but the specifications are impressive. But the jury is still out and I have seen both good and bad reviews for this product.


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Thanks es 73,
K4HM - Hank